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Row over nation-bashing

September 7th, 2011

Right-wing commentators sharply condemn a socialist writer for his bitter words about the Hungarian people as a whole. A left-wing commentator agrees with them, but mainly because the left-wing writer plays into the hands of the worst right-wingers.

„Hungarians are genetically servants,” – wrote Ákos Kertész in an article in American Népszava, a Hungarian-American website. The veteran writer, who defines himself a socialist, finds it disgraceful that the Hungarian public accept the current right-wing rule and contends that Hungarians are responsible for the Holocaust and lack basic positive traits like empathy and solidarity.

Miklós Ugró in Magyar Nemzet points out that Kertész writes about the Hungarians as an outsider. “It is neither a problem nor a sin if he does not feel Hungarian, but in that case how does he explain this dirty invective against a nation which has treated him fairly and even praised him?” – asks the right wing publicist, adding that Kertész has every right to criticise the current political regime and even the mistakes and sins of the Hungarians, but neither his Kossuth-prize nor his Jewish origin entitle him to libel the Hungarians or any other nation in this way.

Sándor Révész in Népszabadság recalls that after the elections in 1994 and the referendum in 2004 – both lost by the conservative forces – right wing publicists lambasted the Hungarian people for not making the right choice. He deplores the fact, however, that Kertész has gone down the same road.

“Ákos Kertész is strengthening the same logic, which gives rise to aggressive, extreme racism,” – writes the left wing commentator, and warns that those who try to defend Kertész’s words in the belief that they are standing up against racism, are mistaken.

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